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My Dichotomy

George Golumbeski has pursued two work streams during his adult life.  

Trained as a PhD molecular biologist, he has had a long and engaging career in the biotechnology industry.  He is recognized for his work in business development (research collaborations, mergers & acquisitions, etc.) where he has focused on therapies for the central nervous system and for the treatment of cancer.

Concurrently, he has pursued photography as fully as possible given the dictates of a challenging and demanding career.  He is especially interested in creating “portraits of nature” wherein the character, or substance of a subject comes forward.  This is relatively straightforward in bird or wildlife photography, but also can be experienced in his landscape work.

George is passionate about conservation and is seeking to devote more of his time and energy to supporting conservation efforts.  Therefore, all proceeds from the sale of his work will go to the National Audubon Society.


My Statement

My family tells me that I sound happiest when I call home while on a photography trip.  I know that this is true, but not exactly why it is true.  

For sure, I love photographing, but I believe that even if I fail to capture one good shot, I am still in my “high happiness zone” just by being outdoors in a beautiful and/or an exotic place.  I literally cannot count the number of trails, sunrises, sunsets, birds and animals I have experienced while on a photo quest (from daytrips to three-week long expeditions).  Furthermore, as I describe on this website, for me, attempting to photograph a landscape or an animal drives me to study the subject intensely, with all of my faculties completely focused.  Thus, photography has consistently been a direct pathway to beauty in this world and to transcendent moments of clear vision.

In selecting photographs for this website, I have deliberately chosen to share a collection of my favorite photographs, some of which were taken over 30 years ago.  Therefore, there is a significant retrospective aspect to this website.  In reviewing these older photographs, I found I could remember a vast amount of detail about the taking of each photograph.  As I went back in time and wrote the captions for these photographs, I was struck by the huge volume of joyful memories I have been given by my nearly lifelong pursuit of photography.

Some of the moments captured here were almost searing in their intensity (“Orange & Stormy Sunset at Grand Canyon” & “Black-browed Albatrosses Mating at the Nest” for example).  Many other memories are quieter but no less clear and no less life-affirming.

I hope some of the richness of experience comes through in the photographs and the associated captions.  I can only conclude that I am happy and feel fortunate to have pursued an activity which has spurred me to spend time in beautiful places, and which has left me with rich and positive memories.  In the end, to me photography is about clearing the clutter in our minds and enhancing the richness of one’s life.  

To paraphrase Roy Batty, near the end of Blade Runner:

I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe.  Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion.  I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser Gate.  All those moments will not be lost for my entire lifetime.

Thank you for looking at my website.

My Photographic Journey

I purchased a Canon TLb with a 50mm f/1.8 mm lens when I was 14 years old.  Nothing fancy, but very reliable.  With that camera began a lifelong hobby, passion, obsession, and love.  Most meaningfully, photography proved to be an ideal companion, spurring me on to explore new places, to look deeply, and to truly focus all of my faculties on the scene at hand.  Photography is probably the only activity in my life where, when engaged in shooting, I think of NOTHING else other than the moment and getting the shot.  For example, the photograph on this website entitled “Autumn Spectrum” was made with a 5x7 inch view camera and required a 3-4 second exposure.  It was windy on that day, and I stood out in very brisk air for 4 hours waiting for a few moments of still air.  During this period, I focused only on the wind and the leaves.  In the end I got my 3-4 seconds, and when I was done, I found I was calm, rested, and feeling whole.  

I purchased a second lens, a Canon 28mm f/2.8, a decade later, and that lens was used to take several pictures on this website (Castle Geyser in Winter, Snowmass Peak Wildflower Meadow).  I point this out because one wildly fun aspect of photography is obsessing about equipment:  Gear-o-philia.  Over the years, I have suffered from this mightily, and may still suffer from this condition to a mild degree.  In truth, nearly all “dyed in the wool photographers” develop this pathology.

My experience and love of the art seriously deepened when I moved to Boulder, Colorado to pursue postdoctoral research in molecular biology.  There, I had stunning access to magnificent and varied landscapes.  Within a day’s drive is all of Colorado, eastern Utah, and most of New Mexico.  Arizona is only a little bit further.  The wonder of such landscapes sparked my photographic senses, and then a massive accelerant was added to the mix when I found a used Pentax 6x7 camera plus 2 lenses (55mm f/4 and 135mm f/4 Macro).  I chose to use the 6x7 as a view camera with a pop-up finder that forced me to work slowly and deliberately.  New realms were opened to a glorious degree, and my photographic senses were irrevocably set ablaze.  

During my Boulder years and after moving back to the eastern United States, I stepped up to 4x5 and 5x7 view cameras.  In fact, for almost 20 years, I exclusively photographed landscapes with a 5x7 inch view camera.  These cameras so wonderfully enhance the contemplative, the zen meditation aspect of photography because one must work slowly and deliberately.  The image appears on the viewing screen upside down and backwards and becomes an object to study in the field.  All parameters of focus and exposure are determined and locked in, and then one waits for the wind, the light, and all other relevant parameters to be a go.  

Of course, I ultimately experimented with 8x10 view cameras (Upper Falls on Doyle’s River).  Wow – how wonderful from a resolution and tonal richness standpoint, but given the weight and bulk, I came to understand the Brett Weston quip that “There’s nothing worth photographing more than 100 yards from the car.”

Finally, in 2010, I found that my demanding job (biotechnology business development for a large therapeutics company) and my family commitments were not compatible with the time required for large format photography.  I sold all of view cameras and my beloved 6x7, and purchased Canon digital gear. My intent was to focus on wildlife, and especially bird photography.  I did so for about 10 years only returning to landscapes in the autumn of 2019.  At the outset of my Canon digital days, I was deeply skeptical and even cynical about digital photography.  It took several years to learn how to use digital gear well, but today, I can say that my SONY A9 allows me to capture action shots that stagger the imagination of one raised on manual focus cameras.  Furthermore, my SONY A7R4 provides print quality rivaling or exceeding my Pentax 6x7.  

BTW, a final word on equipment for now.  Many times, I have taken stock of my arsenal of equipment and lusted because I was missing a lens or needed to upgrade to the latest and greatest.  This is part of the joy of photography, especially when one cannot get into the field enough.  However, today I would suggest that anyone shooting with top quality equipment, including but not limited to Canon, Nikon, and Sony should shoot more and obsess about equipment less.

Given my work and other commitments, I have not photographed nearly enough in this lifetime.  However, through all of the other important activities in my life, and through all of the equipment upgrades, I still find joy, wonder, and zen moments when out in nature with my camera(s) in hand.  Today, I am a fairly omnivorous nature photographer:  Landscapes, Birds, Wildlife are all exciting subject matter to me.  As I am now semi-retired, I look forward to continued immersion in this wonderful craft, art, activity.  It both fires and relaxes my soul!


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